Sadly, this year's travel plans have been supplanted with overdue home projects, including the hanging and cataloging of my personal collection of paintings and other artwork. So this summer, in lieu of an overseas getaway, I could only gaze wistfully at framed pictures as I hung them—many of them reminding me of my favorite travel destinations (and vacations gone by). Let me share a few of them with you. Alas, this shall be the extent of my romantic journeys for Summer 2020. On the whole, I have little to complain of. In the meantime, I'll enjoy a few more "little journeys,' gazing at my pictures of my favorite places.
Eleven years ago, we spent eight days in Assisi. Yesterday I described the Medieval walled city as one of the most enchanting places I've ever visited. One cannot ignore a major source of this enchantment: the spiritual and physical presence of the great saint, Francis of Assisi. Walking through the narrow alleys and climbing the steep stairways, one cannot help but imagine Francis himself once clambering along the same passageways, 800 years earlier. One may still gaze-out over the distant plains—just as the saint did, too. And then there's his tomb, grounded in the crypt of the Basilica of Saint Francis (built 1228 to 1251). For believers, approaching his holy relics is a moving, perhaps overwhelming, experience. There he is!
Because of the relics of Saint Francis, Assisi is amongst the most important pilgrimage site in Christendom. And one will certainly notice a lot of people—many of them day visitors—who flood through the city gates each morning. As conspicuous as the daily tide of pilgrims can be, it is apparent that they have come here with an important mission. They are largely quiet, prayerful and highly respectful of the city. Even the souvenir shops (which line the climb to the Basilica and tomb) manage to remain tastefully merchandised. Assisi avoids the tacky commercialism that tempts other high-tourist destinations.
The sketch above, drawn by Robert Perdziola, illustrates the gentle slopes tapering away from Assisi and features the Cattedrale di San Rufino di Assisi. Cathedral construction began in 1140, before Saint Francis was born. He was baptized here in 1182. Saint Clare, baptized here in 1193, discerned her calling after hearing Francis preaching in this church (in 1209).
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248